Goa’s probably the favourite holiday destination of a vast majority of Indians. The night life, beautiful beaches and obviously the cheap alcohol make it the preferred vacation getaway for college students.
In fact, you won’t find a single college student who hasn’t made plans for visiting Goa during his college life. That’s just how hyped Goa has been for a number of years now.
I visited it for the first time last year with my college friends and believe me, it was everything it’s made up to be.
But sadly, the ‘booze capital’ of India might soon cease to be the hub of alcohol lovers as the government of Goa mull over banning consumption of liquor in Public places.
The Goa Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill was introduced by the State legislature on 8th August 2016, which includes a provision to charge a fine from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 on all those caught drinking in the ‘no alcohol consumption zone’.
“There are complaints from common people about consumption of liquor in public places, which leads to littering and other nuisance. The existing excise law needs to be amended for the same,” Goa’s Excise Commissioner Menino D’Souza told PTI (Public Trust of India).
Records state that there are a whopping 332 wholesale liquor shops in Goa besides the 9,445 bars and restaurant serving liquor.
According to the government, tourists often drink and break bottles on beaches resulting in injuries. They also litter around by shunning the proper disposal of empty bottles and cans.
This leads to environmental degradation as well as harming the pedestrians visiting the area.
The Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar, proposed the bill. He said in the assembly, “People in an inebriated state cause nuisance to the general public, disturb the peace and cause local tension. They also pose a law and order threat on regular basis.”
On one hand, Goa’s main attraction is its liberal alcohol regime and cheap liquor which draws tourists from all over the world. Taking away the freedom of drinking and restricting the tourists to private consumption could potentially hurt Goa’s popularity.
On the other hand, visitors not interested in drinking will find this a welcome relief and fully support the idea.
In retrospect, if people had been drinking and cleaning up after themselves, then the Government may not have had to take such drastic actions.
Also, drinking responsibly and not creating nuisances is something that everyone should adhere to. Nobody else should suffer just because someone drank heavily.
All we can do now is wait and watch if the move made by the government of Goa turns out to be correct or if it faces a backlash.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.